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Masonic Symbolic Chart or Tracing Board
1870-1920
Maker not marked
Place made not marked
Ink on paper, canvas, wood, metal
Overall: 45"h x 34"w x 1"d
Museum Purchase
99.045

Masonic symbol chart or "tracing board." Two printed charts adhered to canvas backing with wood support "handles" on top and bottom; top support has metal rings for hanging. Top print is black and white and shows various tools from first and second degrees. Central motif on left is altar with square, compass and Bible; reads "PRAYER" below. Central motif on right is George Washington as a Mason. Across bottom is building of King Solomon's Temple with working Masonic lodge in front. On left, cedar trees coming to temple; on right, stones from quarry coming to temple. Bottom print is color and shows symbols for 3rd degree. Top left is open Bible to "PSALM CXXXIII" [relates to EA Degree] with square and compasses. Central motif shows lodge with W.M., S.D., & J.D. On left is Jacob's Ladder with sun and stars above. On right side shows various virtues, symbols and scene from Good Samaritan.


The various symbols on this chart helped new initiates learn about ideas and values related to the first three degrees, or initiation ceremonies, of Freemasonry. In the top section of this chart, the publisher included a portrait of George Washington (1732–1799) wearing the regalia of a lodge Master. Washington was the Master of his lodge in Alexandria, Virginia, from April of 1788 to December of 1789—the first and only sitting United States president to also serve as leader of his lodge. By including Washington’s portrait on this chart, the publisher underscored Freemasonry’s connection to one of the United States’ founding heroes.



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